The event was held in Florence on 7th and 8th July 2022. The first day included two different activities, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. In the morning a workshop took place, both in presence, at the Lecture hall, Faculty of Agriculture of University of Florence, and on line, on the Webex platform. This event was recorded and the registration is available upon request. The workshop was about “Universities & Community: Service-Learning in Environmental issues”.

The workshop was divided in several blocks. After the institutional welcome, made by Prof. Simone Orlandini, Director of DAGRI department and Prof. Giorgia Giovannetti, Vice-rector delegate for Internationalization, there was an introduction of the project and the multiplier event made by Prof. Agustin Merino, the coordinator of the project, Dr. Pablo Souza, from USC, and Giovanni Mastrolonardo, from UNIFI, the hosting institution of the event.

First session: July 7th

Service-Learning as methodology in higher education

The following block entered the main subject of the workshop being about the Service-Learning (S-L) as methodology in higher education.

The first invited speaker was Prof. Vanna Boffo, head of the FORLIPSI department at University of Florence. She made a comprehensive presentation about S-L, with an insight about the most important components of this approach, i.e. learning, community, experiences, competences and values. The second invited speaker was Dr. Irene Culcasi from LUMSA University (Rome), who made an overview of the situation of S-L as methodology at the European level, providing good practices arising from those experiences. The third invited speaker was Dr. Celia Conde from Pau Costa Foundation, who presented some examples of past projects related to activities carried out with children devoted to the implementation of risk awareness, with a focus on the education strategies adopted.

Roundtable: education and fire management

The following block was a roundtable, chaired by Prof. Enrico Marchi from UNIFI, on the contribution of education to the fire prevention and mitigation. The roundtable was organized with different invited speakers, representative of different realities, presenting different point of view about the education on wildfire issue.

The invited speakers to the roundtables were the following: Dr. Riccardo Paoloni, representatives of local volunteers fire fighters, Dr. Martina Borghi, from Greenpeace as representative of NGOs, Dr. Fabio Malfatti, from Comunità del bosco del Monte Pisano, representative of a local community impacted by a wildfire, Dr. Juan C. Rodríguez-García, from IES Lucus Augusti (Spain) as representative of high school education and Càtia Reis, from Forestis association (Portugal), as representative of a forest owners association.

Each speaker showed their point of view on the subject and there was a final discussion with comments&questions from the audience. The main outcomes of the roundtable were that the education in wildfire and firefighting is a complex subject as one must consider different subjects (fire, rural areas, forests, etc.; ii) and different target groups (children, citizens, professionals etc.), so developing different educational programmes addressing each specific subject and target group.

Also, in the last 50 years the land use has changed, as the population and the economy; many people moved from the rural areas to the cities and the surroundings of the cities, increasing the forest-urban interface, so creating a high risk of fire to both infrastructures and people. Then, also the socio-economical must be considered. Therefore, it is important to improve the network of stakeholders, taking together different people from different organizations having different experiences, in order to understand what they can learn from each other about wildfires and firefighting.

In the following block the speakers were from the project partnership. They were Prof. Mar Lorenzo and Dr. David Garcia Romero, from University of Santiago de Compostela, and Prof. Giovanna Del Gobbo and Dr. Glenda Galeotti, from University of Florence. They talked about the perspectives to implement S-L from the Facing Fire experience, focusing on the evaluation of the context of the institution and that of the community of intervention, the design of a service-learning program, the implementation of the service-learning local programmes, and the final assessment strategies of learning outcomes.

Participation of students and audience

In the last block, two students from UNIFI, Chiara Clemente and Giammarco Dadà, who took part to the joint training activity in Portugal, showed their experiences in leading the Italian local S-L project, also highlighting the challenges they met and the reflections arose from their experience.

Some general conclusions, also drawn by the audience, closed the morning activities.

The activity of the afternoon consisted in the formation of two parallel focus groups (of 10 and 11 participants each) with different stakeholders of the Facing Fire Project (students, administrations, teachers and researchers) to draw on the different needs and potentials of the Service-Learning methodology in forest fire management. The main objective was to collect data related to the needs for the implementation of S-L in forest management, considering two main issues:

  • Knowledge and competences needed for the training (learning objectives, courses that could be involved, role of S-L, etc.)
  • S-L implementation (how to work with local communities, possible synergies between stakeholders, social benefits S-L can foster, etc.).

The conversations were facilitated by researchers members of the Facing Fire Project and recorded for its transcription verbatim.

Second session: July 8th

Field trip to Monti Pisani

The second day, July 8th, was devoted to a fieldtrip to Monti Pisani, to visit the places affected by the fire being studied for the Italian local Facing Fire service-learning project. The fieldtrip started from Florence at 08:45 and finished at 16:00. During the fieldtrip Dr. Cristiano Foderi, from University of Florence, described the area and the characteristics and consequences of the wildfire occurred, Dr. Fabio Malfatti and Sabine Gennnai Schott, from the Comunità del bosco del monte Pisano, presented some projects and activities, related to vegetation restoration and education of the community about wildfire risks, which took place in the area after the fire. Finally, Chiara Clemente, student at University of Florence, presented the survey prepared by the UNIFI students for the local S-L project.

After the field trip, all the partners of the project held a management meeting.

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